A European attempt to equate Communism with Nazism will falsify history
Not many have heard about the Prague Declaration, which is currently making the
rounds at the European Parliament. Proclaimed last June in Prague (but
cooked up in the Baltics), its innocuous theme is “European Conscience
and Communism”. Now who would oppose that? The heinous crimes of Communist
regimes clearly merit full exposure. Victims deserve recognition. When
the grand jamboree of freedom, fun and prosperity got under way for
us lucky westerners in 1945, entire nations ceded to Stalin were condemned
to totalitarian rule.
However, the declaration insists as a matter of principle that Soviet Communism
and Hitler’s Fascism be declared absolutely “equal”, and demands absurd
new laws (for example, “fixing” textbooks throughout the EU to agree
with this). The states driving this initiative — Lithuania, Latvia
and Estonia — are thriving democracies that deserve firm western support
for their continued growth, and against possible mischief from a certain
unpredictable bear to the east.
But the plot thickens. During the Holocaust, the percentages
of their Jewish citizens murdered — mid to high 90s — were the highest
in Europe. Bold non-Jewish advocates of truth and reconciliation, individuals
and NGOs alike, have recently been overwhelmed by a state-sponsored
“Genocide Industry” that promotes Holocaust obfuscation. This is not
Holocaust denial but, rather, a ruse to confuse the issue and talk
the Holocaust away in a new, cunning paradigm of “equal genocides”.
It started with the “Common Europe — Common History” working
group in January 2008. One member of the British Parliament saw right
through it. John Mann, intrepid chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary
Group against Antisemitism, told the Commons precisely where this is
coming from: “It is just a traditional form of prejudice, rewritten
in a modern context. In essence, it is trying to equate Communism and
Judaism as one conspiracy and rewrite history from a nationalist point
The “red-equals-brown” movement is sometimes sold by wheeling out ambitious local
Jewish politicians whose careers depend on being more ultra-nationalist
and anti-Russian than anybody else. These “show Jews” regularly betray
the Holocaust’s victims in order to “help” their countries delete the
Holocaust from their history, rather than genuinely help reach the
maturity of nationhood that includes acknowledgement of the imperfect
histories of all our nations.
Frankly speaking, the fine Lithuanian people (among whom I have enjoyed living
for a decade) are poorly served by this misguided, state-sponsored
industry, which includes (this one is for you, George Orwell)
the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes
of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania”.
It is cosily housed in the Prime Minister’s office, eliminating
any distancing from politics of the hour.
A little over a year ago, a far-right
daily in Vilnius called on prosecutors to show their manhood
by going for two women Holocaust survivors. Why? They escaped
the Vilna Ghetto to join the Soviet-supported anti-Nazi partisans.
(Regrettably, there were no British or American forces in
those parts to take in the tiny numbers who escaped the death
Then, on May 5 last year, came the
low point in modern Lithuanian history. Armed plain-clothes
police came looking for the women. One of them, Fania Yocheles
Brantsovsky, 86, is librarian of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute.
The other, Rachel Margolis, 87, may have been targeted because
she rediscovered and published the diary of a valiant Polish
Christian who had witnessed the murdering (by enthusiastic
local volunteers, called “partisans” here) of tens of thousands
of innocent civilians at Ponar (Paneriai), a gruesome mass
murder site. Margolis, now in Israel, is unable to return
to Vilnius for her annual series of lectures and walking
tours of the Vilna Ghetto.
As the Economist put it last August,
“Lithuania must stop blaming the victims”. The country’s
tiny, aged, and rapidly declining Jewish community is shaken
by the antisemitic mood that feeds on the red-brown movement’s
campaign against Holocaust survivors.
In recent weeks, the President of
the European Parliament, Hans Gert Poettering, “thanked”
the Baltic states for enlightening the rest of Europe about
these matters. It is high time to enlighten him, and the
European Parliament. And, to ensure that these crafty resolutions
roundly go down to defeat.